BEVERLY, Kansas -- A Kansas military hero, now has a highway named after him. Donald Ross, the first World War II veteran to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, was honored Friday when Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill naming a section of highway near his hometown as the Donald Ross Memorial Highway.
No one could have known that Donald Ross would become a hero the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. But the small town boy from Beverly, Kansas no doubt saved many American lives that day.
Beverly is a small town of no more than 170 people in Lincoln County. Friday the Governor signed House Bill 2003, designating a portion of K-18 Highway from U.S. 81 to the western edge of Lincoln County in Ross' honor.
Ross was born on December 8th of 1910 in Beverly. He enlisted in the Navy during the summer of 1929. During the 1941 attack on our forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.. his ship.. the USS Nevada was badly damaged. When his station filled up with smoke, Ross stayed to help his men get away from the burning ship. He passed out and was rescued, only to go back and secure another room, then pass out from the heat and exhaustion he was suffering from that day. Following another rescue, he returned yet again until his commander ordered him to leave. Donald K. Ross became the very first World War II veteran to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Donald Ross died in 1992, his ashes scattered over the ship he loved serving on. Three area WWII veterans attended Friday's signing ceremony. The Governor noted that our Greatest Generation is quickly disappearing.